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Boston Globe

A group of MIT scientists has announced a new plan, called the Future Founders Initiative, aimed at addressing gender inequities in the biotech industry, reports Anissa Gardizy for The Boston Globe. “If we can’t advance discoveries at the same rate for women and men, that means there are drugs, therapies, devices, and diagnostics that are not getting to where they can actually benefit people,” says President Emerita Susan Hockfield. “If as a region we want to continue to lead the world, the best thing to do is not squander our resources.”

CNBC

MIT spin-off Gingko Bioworks was named to the CNBC Disruptor 50 List for using “genetic engineering to design and print new DNA for a variety of organisms…that can then be used for anything from killing antibiotic-resistant germs to producing artificial sweetener and cheaper perfume,” reports Tom Huddleston Jr. for CNBC.

The Boston Globe

The Boston Globe’s Scott Kirsner discusses the impact of Cambridge biotech company Biogen, cofounded by Prof. Phil Sharp, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. “The company has become the biggest oak tree of the Massachusetts biotech sector,” writes Kirsner, “not only because it is still standing after four decades, but because it has dropped a lot of acorns.”

The Boston Globe

Alumni Keith Dionne and Frank Gentile, who met as graduate students in 1983, have launched a biotech company based on how cells detoxify and repair themselves, reports Jonathan Saltzman of The Boston Globe. Saltzman explains that by creating drugs to induce a process called autophagy, Dionne and Gentile hope to “help cells rid themselves of debris associated with diseases” like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch’s Devin Coldewey profiles ReviveMed, a biotech startup out of MIT that turns drug discovery into a big data problem. “ReviveMed’s approach is a fundamentally modern one that wouldn’t be possible just a few years ago, such is the scale of the data involved,” writes Coldeway.

The Atlantic

Co-founded by three alumni and a former professor, startup Ginkgo Bioworks uses genetic engineering to create an array of consumer and corporate products – all relying on socially conscious GMOs. The company, which is now partnering with Bayer, is “trying to reset the conversation around biotechnology: by foregrounding the benefits to consumers and advocating for transparency,” writes Sarah Zhang for The Atlantic.

Boston Globe

Henri Termeer, a life member of the MIT Corporation who was known as one of the founding fathers of the biotech industry, died at age 71, write Robert Weisman and Bryan Marquard for The Boston Globe. Termeer was, “a key leader in the biotech revolution that placed Massachusetts at the nexus of cutting-edge research and development.”

WCVB

Appearing on WCVB-TV’s Chronicle, Provost Marty Schmidt explains why Kendall Square is a hub for innovation, highlighting how the region brings together organizations working on everything from computer science and biotech to brain and cognitive sciences. Schmidt explains that Kendall Square’s innovation ecosystem means research “coming out of MIT (can) be immediately translated to impact.”

Forbes

MIT spinoff Sample6 has raised $12.7 million to create a better system for detecting bacteria in food, writes Luke Timmerman for Forbes. “The company has developed a technology that can target specific bioparticles, light them up and do it without enriching the sample,” explains Timmerman. 

CNBC

CNBC reporter Meg Tirrell reports on the biotechnology boom in Cambridge, explaining that one reason so many biotech companies want to be located in Kendall Square is the area’s proximity to MIT. “Everybody wants to be next to MIT, this hotbed of technology and life sciences work,” says Tirrell.